It's no secret that smartphones and tablets are now nearly ubiquitous, and that more and more video is being consumed on them. For example, Ooyala recently said that 34% of all video plays were on mobile devices in Q4 '14, which was up from 6% just 2 years prior. Meanwhile, YouTube's CEO said last Fall that 50% of its views are on mobile and its head of content said about its product development focus, "It's all mobile, mobile, mobile."
All that mobile video usage is now starting to heavily impact how video is created and monetized. While mobile video has always been shorter-form than desktop, a key creative influence over the past year has been Facebook's insertion of audio-off autoplay video in users' news feeds. Last week Fortune provided a lot of context for what's behind Facebook's 4 billion views per month. Then, in an insightful post, Newsbound's Josh Kalven pointed out how audio-off is leading content creators to adopt readable video formats.
Free, short-form mobile video news is becoming a hot area of focus for established media companies. The latest evidence is this morning's announcement by NBCUniversal News Group of a minority investment in NowThis News as part of a broader content development collaboration involving all of NBC's news brands.
The investment follows the December acquisition of leading short-form mobile video news creator Newsy by E.W. Scripps for $35 million. That deal followed the launch by the New York Times, in late November, of the "New York Times Minute," a 3 times per day 1 minute video compilation of 3 top news stories of the moment which itself came on top of many other new video offerings from the Times. Meanwhile, in late December News Corp. acquired Storyful for $25 million to accelerate the use of short user-generated video in its and others' reporting.
And all of these follow numerous clip-oriented video news initiatives by a wide range of established and earlier-stage news organizations across both general and vertical subject areas (e.g. sports, entertainment, travel, etc.).